When Google ventured into real estate listings many of us thought it would signal the end of annual fee increases being charged by the likes of realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. I mentioned how it will eventually force these organisations to change their business models and build simpler, smarter platforms and I still do!
Despite making it clear that it will take time, some industry heavies quickly began commenting on how little effect Google was having on sites like realestate.com.au with increased share prices /revenues traffic figures. The most vigorous of these was writing on just about every single notable real estate blog (including his own) how it wasn’t making a jot of difference, I thought at the time, it was pretty short sighted from a person who should know better!
I also made it clear that it will take time for Google’s impact to occur. Only when Google Real Estate has similar volumes of listings and only when they include the searchability of these listings directly within the search engine will it begin to have an impact on the majors.
Now it seems Google is stepping it up a gear……..is this an aggressive phase for Google?
During a session at the 2010 Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York, Sam Sebastian, Google’s director of local and business-to-business markets, was quoted as saying “We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month.”
Read this again………
“We’re actively looking to acquire one to two small real estate companies a month.” This statement speaks volumes of just how important Google thinks real estate is to their overall search strategy. It tells me they really do think it is one of the most popular search markets. Many people are talking of Google purchasing the likes of Trulia, Roost and some other independent companies. Personally, I think they will buy into products that compliment and drive traffic to their search and real estate website rather than buy other search engines and portals, they will also more than likely delve into products to compliment their Andriod operating system and new phone offerings.
Life without Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au?
One thing is for sure, in a few years the real estate landscape will be completely different. Once Google has comparable listings and if it is confident it has a faster way to search then all that needs to happen is for consumers to become aware and use the systems and things will get tough for the portals.
Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au continue to provide a decent service to agents, however it is the control that agents are wary of – no one likes having monopolies or duopolies, it only serves the few and each and every time hurts too many businesses and stifles innovation. Google’s involvement in any major industry allows a fair price to be charged for services, forces innovation and will make companies like Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au offer better support and services for their money.